During our recent webcam chat (watch below), “Veep” supporting player Timothy Simons revealed that his character, Jonah Ryan, “just wants to work in the White House because it’s the single most important address in the entire world.” Having been bounced from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in season three, he returns when Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) moves in. “The fact that she’s president just raises the stakes so much.”
On this new direction for the series, Simons says, “Once you become president, the world gets so much bigger, even just as far as the people in the room.” The actor thinks it adds an intensity to the show from previous seasons where there were: “essentially six people in a room and we have these big group long takes. There’s so much story to tell, those [scenes] got truncated a little bit and it was a different performance language to figure out.”
Meyers’ staff comes to see the value of their one-time nemesis as they send Ryan to the Hill to sell a politically damaging bill that they actually want to kill. The actor reflects on his character: “It is funny that he actually has skills; he’s not a useless person. It’s just the skills he has nobody would ever really want to possess. He has an innate ability to fuck things up and turn people off, and it’s a true skill. I suppose it’s a good thing to have somebody like that on your team; if you don’t want something to go well.”
This season also saw Simons tackle the challenge of playing a victim of sexual abuse. “Jonah is an imperfect victim because he’s a bad person; he’s a sexual harasser.” He think this teaches the audience, “not every victim is going to be perfect but that does not make them any less of a victim; Jonah is a good example of that. We talked a lot of that in the rehearsal process, finding ways for it to be horrible, for it to be over the line but still not just be ‘look at this guy, he’s getting abused, hahaha.’”
Watch our full interview and then use the easy drag-and-drop menu to tell us if you think Simons will be nominated for Best Comedy Supporting Actor this year.
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